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Photo: Alexandra Lowe, Opera Gala 2019
Photographer: Andrew Billington
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The Opera Gala is back! Last year we gave you the Highlights of the Clonterbrook Recital Series, in the place of the Opera Gala, which we very much hope you enjoyed, but we are delighted to be presenting our usual Opera Gala – a favourite in the Clonter calendar – again this November.

The Opera Gala consists of a variety of well-loved opera arias, duets and ensembles, followed by some musical theatre classics, in a well-established operative prelude to Christmas, and is ideal for anyone who has not been to an opera before, but would like to dip their toe in the water, before committing to a full-blown one. Each item is set into context by the director, so no prior knowledge necessary.

Alexandra Lowe, who took part in the 2019 Opera Gala, went on to the prestigious Jette Parker Young Artist Programme, at Covent Garden. In her second and final season on the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme, Alexandra will feature in Mozart, Handel and Britten roles among other projects and work under conductors Hartmut Haenchen, Harry Bicket and Sir Antonio Pappano. In the Linbury Theatre Alexandra sings Anthony Almeida’s staged production of Pierrot Lunaire. Despite the pandemic-related challenges of Alexandra’s first season as a Covent Garden Young Artist, she was able to make a highly acclaimed mainstage debut as ​“an exquisite, self-assured Dafne” (The Guardian) in Handel’s Apollo e Dafne under Christian Curnyn and participate in a host of online events including an ensemble recital with Antonio Pappano at the piano, and the contemporary 8bit Series presenting newly commissioned works.
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‘She sang with abundant warmth and generosity, maintaining an elegant poise in Rossini’s ​‘Willow Song’ and imbuing Mozart’s ​‘Mi tradi’ with full-blooded gusto.’

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, March 2020
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Click here to watch Glyndebourne Opera Cup – Mi tradi quell’alma ingrata, Don Giovanni, Mozart

Click here for More Info
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Clonter Opera Gala Singers 2021

Charlotte Badham – Mezzo-Soprano

Clonter is delighted to welcome Charlotte back to Clonter following her highly acclaimed participation in Clonter’s production of Papageno’s Quest, at the Just So Festival this year, a number of Clonter education programmes, and a Tea with Songs from the Shows in 2019. Plymouth born mezzo-soprano, Charlotte Badham, is a recent graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music. Her operatic roles include Hansel Hansel and Gretel for which she received The Eunice Pettigrew Prize, Hippolyta A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Willie Street Scene, and Léonie La Vie Parisienne in RNCM productions. As well as Dido Dido and Aeneas in concert with the Ilkley and Otley Choral society, Olga Eugene Onegin on the Opera Holland Park Young Artist Programme and Cretan Woman Idomeneo with Buxton Festival Opera. Furthermore, Charlotte has enjoyed working as a chorister with companies including Buxton Festival Opera (2017 / 18) and Garsington Opera on the Alvarez Young Artist Programme (2019). Charlotte’s highlight of 2021 has been returning to the Opera Holland Park Young Artist Programme to sing the role of Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro. Since 2018, Charlotte has been involved in several projects for Clonter Opera which include: delivering music-theatre workshops to over 1,000 children; performing musical theatre concerts, and creating a new Children’s Opera Show, ‘Papageno’s Quest’, in which Charlotte plays numerous familiar characters across the operatic repertoire. As an enthusiastic oratorio soloist, Charlotte has performed with numerous choral societies across the UK, most recently, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with the Liverpool Welsh Choral and Bach’s Magnificat with the Amici Singers in Somerset. Internationally, Charlotte has sung in Florence for the VenCap annual opera gala dinner, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées with Garsington Opera and the Notre Dame Cathedral to commemorate the Holodomor in Ukraine.

Click here to watch Il segreto per esser felici, Lucrezia Borgia, Donizetti
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Olivia Carrell – Soprano

Clonter is delighted to welcome Olivia back to Clonter following both her success in the Spring Opera Showcase in 2019, returning to take part in the digital recital series and digital Christmas Tea Special in 2020. Olivia Carrell is a young lyric soprano based in London, singing under the tutelage of Alison Wells. She has recently graduated with Distinction in her Masters Degree from the Royal Northern College of Music where she was taught by Deborah Rees. Prior to this, she received a First Class BA in Music from the RNCM. Olivia was the happy beneficiary of the Countess of Munster Music Trust 2020 which helped fund the final year of her Masters degree. During this time, she performed roles such as Blanche de la Force in Poulenc’s Dialogue des Carmelites, Dew Fairy in Humperdink’s Hansel and Gretel, Helena in Britten’s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Maria Bertram in Dove’s Mansfield Park. In July of this year, she was invited to perform in Viardot’s Cendrillon at the Buxton International Opera Festival where she received 5 star reviews for her comedic portrayal of the ugly sister, Maguelonne. Olivia has just been invited back to the festival to play the principle role of Louise in Donizetti’s “Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali” for their 2022 season. She also spent the summer 2021 season with Hampstead Garden Opera in their production of Cavalli’s opera “L’Egisto” where she played the role Venere. She has worked closely with composers in discovering the fascinating world of contemporary classical music, which resulted in her premiering a one-woman operetta – Growth of the Silk which received glowing revues at London’s Tete-a-Tete festival in August 2019. The performance was deemed “the highlight of the festival for me” by Tete-a-Tete’s founder, Bill Bankes-Jones. The piece was generously funded to enable a 2020 tour of UK Fringe festivals. Sadly this was interrupted by Covid.

Click here to watch Act 1, Scene 1, Dialogue des Carmelites, Poulenc

Click here to watch C, Poulenc
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Jacobo Ochoa – Baritone 

Clonter is delighted to welcome Colombian baritone Jacobo Ochoa back to Clonter following his great success in the role of Masetto in Clonter’s Opera Production of Don Giovanni in 2019. Jacobo graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with a First Class Honours degree. He was a member of the Tenerife Opera Studio (2019/20) during which time he performed the role of Belcore at Opera de Tenerife, National State Theatre of Tbilisi, and Teatro Comunale di Bologna. He has sung the role of Masetto with Clonter Opera and appeared with British Youth Opera (Caliban – The Enchanted Island). Most recently he has begun a series of summer concerts with the Marylebone Music Festival. Jacobo is the winner of the Colombian National Singing competition, where he was also awarded a scholarship to study in Barcelona for one year. He then went on to win 2nd prize at the Logroño international singing competion in Spain. During his time at the Guildhall he was awarded 2nd prize at the Kathleen Ferrier Bursary for young singers. He has been supported by the Drake Calleja Trust and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Future engagements include, a return to Opera de Tenerife in spring 2022 for a production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Offenbach)

Click here to watch Di tua beltade immagine…, Poliuto, Donizetti
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Richard Shaffrey – Tenor

Clonter is delighted to welcome Richard back to Clonter following not only his vocal, but also physical acrobatic prowess in the 2019 Clonter Opera Gala. Richard completed his studies with Stephen Robertson on the RCS MMus Opera Course, where he was very grateful to be generously supported by the RCS Trust, the Irish Arts Council and the South Square Trust. At the RCS he performed the roles of Ferrando Così fan tutte, Lechmere Owen Wingrave, Tristan Le Vin Herbé, and Alfred Die Fledermaus. He sang in the Wexford Festival Opera Chorus (2013/14/16), Grange Park Opera chorus (2015) and the Wide Open Opera Chorus, performing in Tristan und IsoldeAlma Fetish and Nixon in China, understudying Mao. He also sang the role of Nemorino L’elisir d’amore in an understudy concert with Opera Theatre Company. After completing a DipMus Performance at the RIAM, he was accepted onto the Northern Ireland Opera Young Artists’ Programme, where he understudied Macduff Macbeth and Tamino The Magic Flute. In 2016, he played the role of Gastone in Clonter Opera’s La traviata, while understudying Alfredo and also performed the role of Il Cancelliere in Wexford Festival Opera’s production of Maria de Rudenz in the same year. In 2017 he performed the role of Rodolfo La bohème at the Rye Arts Festival and made his debut with Scottish Opera as The Officer Ariadne auf Naxos in February 2018. He has featured at the Wexford Opera Festival, where he was a PWC Young Artist,  performing the roles of Dick Johnson Fanciulla del West, Il Messo Il Bravo, and Prince Charmant Cendrillon.

Click here to watch La donna è mobile, Rigoletto, Verdi
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Yuliya Shkvarko – Soprano

Yuliya Shkvarko is a Belarussian-Australian Soprano, who is an awardee of the Presidential Award for Young Talents of Belarus, prize-holder of the International Vocal Competitions in Kohtla-Järve and ‘I sing for you, Russia’ in Velikiye Luki. She is a recipient of Brisbane Junior Opera Championship Trophy, scholarships for Alion Baltic International Music Festival (Riga), MMus Int, AdvPgDip and IAD at RNCM. Yuliya’s recent Opera roles include: Blanche de la Force Dialogues des Carmelites, Geraldine A Hand of Bridge, Lauretta Gianni Schicchi, Antonina Milyukova Tchaikovsky, Angel of Music. In Latvia Yuliya won 1st Opera Prize in the VI Alion Baltic International Music Competition 2019. In 2020 Yuliya graduated from the most prestigious degree at the Royal Northern College of Music – International Artist Diploma. Despite the countless cancellations of performances during the Covid-19 pandemics, Yuliya was still able to make the most of these challenging times, thanks to the British Youth Opera. From November 2020 to July 2021 Yuliya was a member of their Serena Fenwick Artists Program. During these months Yuliya was also under the mentorship of a world-renowned mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard and achieved B1 level in German with her private languages tutor Carolin Koehler. Yuliya’s music journey in UK is kindly supported by Peter Heath patronage.

Click here to watch Song to the Moon, Rusalka, Dvorak
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Production Team

Clive Timms – Musical Director/Coach

Clive Timms studied at Birmingham University and the London Opera Centre. He joined the music staff of ENO after a season with WNO and was subsequently appointed Assistant Music Director of Opera North on the company’s inception in 1978. For these companies he conducted a large number of performances of a varied operatic repertoire. He retired from the Guidhall School of Music & Drama in 2012 after 22 years as Head of Opera Studies, where in 2007 he was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for his work in the Opera Department. He was responsible for many notable productions, often of unusual and stimulating repertoire, the majority of which he conducted, latterly Nicolai’s  Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor and the European première of Ned Rorem’s Our Town – and  he continues to coach aspiring singers at the Guildhall School. His association with Clonter dates back to 1989 but more  recently he has conducted the productions of La cenerentola, Lucia di Lammermoor, Hansel and Gretel, Die Fledermaus, Faust, Così fan tutteLa traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, La bohème and Don Giovanni.
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Isabelle Kettle – Director

Isabelle Kettle is a British director of opera and theatre whose work has been produced in London, New York and France. She was the 2019-21 Jette Parker Young Artist Stage Director at the Royal Opera House and a 2018 graduate of the Columbia University MFA in Theatre Directing, led by Anne Bogart. Staging classics and contemporary work, she has experience working in small and large venues, as well as unconventional and outdoor spaces. Opera credits include Brecht & Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins and Mahagonny Songspiel (ROH Mainstage), Handel’s Susanna (ROH Linbury Theatre), Dido & Aeneas (a site-specific production at the Queille Festival, Toulouse), Une Education Manquée (Arcola Theatre, Grimeborn Festival), Ariodante (semi-staged concert performance, ROH Mainstage). Theatre credits include a world premiere workshop performance of Colm Tóibín’s ’s Pale Sister (PEN world voices festival, NYC), Manar by Melis Aker (LPAC festival, NYC & staged reading at LaMAMA NYC), Arden Creatures (with Footfall Theatre company, Cockpit Theatre London), Machinal (Lenfest Center for the arts, NYC), Lear’s Daughters (with Footfall Theatre company, Hope Theatre London) . Projects in Development: The Garden Party, a new electronic opera adapted from the Katherine Mansfield short story, in collaboration with composer Joanna Ward and librettist Joanna Pidcock.
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Robin Humphreys – Accompanist 

Robin Humphreys is a graduate of the University of Birmingham and a holder of the prestigious Diploma in Professional Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music, where he studied piano accompaniment with David Lloyd. Appearing in concert both as a soloist and an accompanist for over 35 years, he now pursues a successful career as an accompanist and répétiteur, the breadth of his repertoire being reflected in television and radio broadcasts ranging from BBC Radio 3 to Emmerdale!  At the RNCM, Robin is a senior music coach within the School of Vocal Studies, for whom he was also chief répétiteur on the majority of college opera productions from the late 1990s until 2013. He has appeared with the    Manchester Camerata in the world première of “A Feast of Fables” by Paul Reade, has been Musical Director for Feelgood Theatre Productions and, from 1990-2000, Opera & Concert Productions (Worldwide) Ltd with whom he toured throughout the Gulf, the Indian sub-continent and the Far East. Robin has a particularly close association with Clonter Opera Theatre in Cheshire, where he regularly works as Assistant Musical Director and Accompanist. He is also an accompanist member of the British & International Federation of Festival.
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Ticket Pricing & Covid Safety Measures

Whilst the government have lifted all restrictions, further to our Customer Confidence Survey, and feedback from our Summer Opera Production, we have decided to maintain the policy adopted for the last 3 performances of the opera, which was that masks be worn at all times when moving around the foyer and other common parts, maintaining a 2 metre distance, where possible, and hand sanitising on entry, but once seated for a show masks may be removed. In addition we will still be leaving one seat empty between groups. This latter measure will still mean that the capacity of the performance spaces (auditorium and Ramsey room) is reduced significantly. Whilst we did not quadruple (pre 19th July) and double (post 19th July) the ticket prices for the Barber of Seville, in order to have a sporting chance of being able to present a programme for 2022, it is necessary for us to consequently increase the price of the tickets for the remaining events planned for this year. We very much hope that this will not preclude you from attending this event. We pledge to review this in 2022, and restore the Early Bird and Group Discounts. We thank you in advance for your understanding, and very much hope you may be able to attend this event, and thereby help secure a future for Clonter.
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Tickets £65, £80, £95, £110

Doors Open 6pm

Performance 7pm

Interval 70-minute supper interval; pre-order supper, or bring your own (indoor) picnic.
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